By Paul Myers
Although Tiger Woods has been healthy enough to compete in most of the big events on the PGA Tour this season, including each of the first three major championships, his form has not been what we are used to seeing from one of the greatest players of all time. Woods remains without a major title since his incredible performance at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open. While many are wondering if we will see Tiger raise a trophy again in a major, a more pressing question has arisen late in this season – will Tiger earn enough money to qualify for the year-end FedEx Cup Playoffs?
Work to Do
The top 125 players on the FedEx Cup points list qualify for the first event of the playoffs. At the moment, Tiger Woods is 185th on that list. Unfortunately, Woods was not high enough in the world rankings to earn a spot in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, meaning he won’t be able to use that event to add to his points total. Of course, Woods will be competing at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which would seem like his best chance to vault up the standings (considering the extra points that are available at majors). With a high finish at the PGA Championship and perhaps one more quality start, Woods could potentially make the leap into the top 125.
Consistency is Key
Talent doesn’t just go away, and there is certainly more than enough talent left in Tiger Woods to play golf at the highest level. So far in 2015, however, consistency has been the issue. Early in the season, Woods was plagued by problems with his chipping. Since then, those issues have been completely solved and his chipping is back to performing at a high level. However, his accuracy off the tee has now become a problem, and Woods has not been playing from enough fairways to compete regularly. He has posted some good rounds, but they have been mixed in with disappointing days that slide him back down the leaderboard. Where Woods was once the model of consistency for a professional golfer, he now needs to find a rhythm that can carry him from Thursday all the way through to Sunday.
It is hard to improve against the best players in the world if you aren’t playing against them on a regular basis. Tiger has only played in nine events so far this season, and that lack of action may be in part to blame for the inconsistency mentioned above. Simply having the opportunity to put himself in the thick of competition over and over again may be all it takes for this great of the game to find his form. Playing a couple of strong events and earning entry into the PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoffs would be a great step in the right direction.
With the emergence of Jordan Spieth to go along with Rory McIlroy, the future of golf is in great hands. However, if Tiger Woods is able to recapture some of his previous form and enter the fray late in major championships, the excitement of some of golf’s top events will be taken to an even higher level.